Monday, March 15, 2010

Sports History 101

How important is the NCAA tournament in America? Well, it is at least important enough to gain the attention of both the President and the voting public. What does this say about the popularity? I guess it speaks for itself; sports are incredibly important in American life. However, how did athletics become so prevalent in American culture? If I am recalling somewhat hazy memories from AP US History, sports as popular culture began in the 1920s. With the rise of stars such as Babe Ruth and increased leisure time due to more productivity, Americans wanted enjoyable pastimes. From there, sporting events continued to rise as the NFL was established in 1922, and the NBA was established in 1949 (although basketball has been around much longer than this). With all of the athletic options available, more and more people became involved. You didn't just need to play baseball; new sports were being introduced that better suited different skill sets. Because of this, sports continued to grow and multiply until they reached the point where we are today.

This is definitely a brief overview of the history of American sports, but I hope it shows how sports have become such a large part of American culture. Granted, I am no fortuneteller, but I feel like sports will not be going anywhere anytime soon. Even people who traditionally would not be able to play competitive sports, like myself, can get into the game and enjoy games like power soccer. Even countries are beginning to use sports as a method of rebuilding (see my article on Sri Lanka). So, I want you to remember that as much as you may try to avoid sports, you will never be able to in a culture that is as sports oriented as America is.

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